In the short time Bungalow & Basket have been open for business, Toowoomba has embraced the girls’ sense of style & Sally’s glorious baking. Talking to the girls about their business, it’s clear just how much they love their customers, their shop & their baked goods!
Girls, I would love to know more about you! Could you let us know a bit about yourselves?
Jodi – “I would describe myself as almost two people. I’m quite a homely person. I am content with a simple lifestyle and yet am a sucker for homewares and constantly adding things to my evolving nest. My second self can pack up a suitcase and disappear for a year at a time!”
Sally – “I am the quieter one of the two. I am a wife and also a mother of twin boys, William and Henry. I was born in Blackwater and we moved to Toowoomba when I was 7 so have spent most of my life here.”
What were you up to before the B & B? What are your backgrounds?
Jodi – “My adventures have taken me to some wonderful places I was fortunate to call home. My first pleasure of working in a gift/homewares store was in the most amazing store called Oliver Bonas on Northcote Road just beyond the bustling Clapham Junction. Then my travels, a little closer to home, in Melbourne, gave me the opportunity to work for a small successful business called Rap Products on the busy Bourke street, just up from the mall.”
Sally – ” I am an Accountant, now turned baker and business owner.”
How did the two of you meet?
Jodi – “Well we met very, very young! We are cousins, so we never got a choice. We’re stuck with each other now!”
What inspired the Bungalow & Basket? Whose idea was it initially?
Jodi – “Well, we both used to joke around when we’d have these great ideas by saying ‘…..well when we have our shop…’”
Sally – “I lost my job in January last year and that inspired us to combine our loves of cake, coffee and homewares. It was both our dream to have individual shops and we combined them into one.
How would you describe the other person in your partnership?
Sally – “Jodi is the bright and bubbly one. She is very creative and is fabulous at merchandising. She is lots of fun and our customers love her.”
Jodi – “Sally is the best person I get to come and spend my days with. I love her so much, I’m so proud of all that she creates and to have her by my side. I love that everyday we laugh, a lot, and very loudly! We get to share that with our customers. I love that we have such different styles and yet it all blends and comes together in our store just as we do as people. I am so grateful that we created this space of love and fun together and of the support she gives me.”
When did you start planning to open the shop/cafe?
Sally – “January 3rd 2014. We sat in a cafe at Pacific Fair and trolled realestate.com for a commercial space and discussed what our little shop would look like.”
Jodi – “July last year, Sally found a vacant space and it moved very quickly from there!”
Where did the name “Bungalow & Basket” come from?
Jodi – “We just wrote down a bunch of words we liked! Very fancy! We wanted two names to represent each side of the business. “Bungalow” had been used a lot around me recently, from my Friday nights reliving my years spent in London by watching “Escape to the Country” and they refer to a low set house as a “Bungalow”. We wanted the alliteration in our name so then played around with words that refer back to food…hampers…basket! Bingo!”
Did your plans change much along the way?
Sally – “I don’t believe our plans changed along the way. We stuck to our original plan of cake, coffee and homewares. The only things that changed were the opening date, and expensive things we had to cut to out fit our budget.”
Jodi – “When it came time to order the tiles we had picked, they were unavailable. Restrictions and compliance was another factor that modified our initial plans. A lot just came down to coming across obstacles during the fit out stage.”
How long have you been open for now?
Jodi – “We opened the doors on Tuesday 25th November. It’s been 8 months to the day since we opened and it has flown by.”
Sally – “Wow, we have been open for 8 months!”
Was Toowoomba a challenging market to enter? If so, how did you work through this process?
Sally – “I don’t believe so. We wanted to be an affordable place for people to come and visit and be able to walk out with a little something whether it be a $10 gift or a coffee. We didn’t want to be a shop with lovely things but too expensive that people could not afford. We wanted to keep our price point affordable but also bring something fresh and new to Toowoomba. We have a good combination of affordable with a dash of more expensive pieces.”
Jodi – “Toowoomba is home, so we really wanted to make it work. There weren’t many spaces that fit the size we needed, but we love where we are and wouldn’t change it.”
How would you describe your style at the B & B?
Jodi – “I would have to say for a customer first visiting our store that I’d hope they would feel welcomed, relaxed and inspired. We definitely have a strong earthy foundation, a lot of neutrals but using texture and pattern to create different layers. We aim to fill our shop with practical and affordable homewares. Our store feels fresh, stylish and humble.”
Sally – “From the smells of the baking and candles to the textured wallpaper and fireplace, I feel it is a fun space to be in.”
Does it work well with each of you working on one side of the business? Do you separate decisions or make them together?
Jodi – “It does yes, we kind of just took on roles without even realising! Sally has her food license and is our baker extraordinaire. We both pick out recipes to try for New Recipe Tuesdays. We both go to two tradefairs a year in Sydney and Melbourne, which is great because we are both drawn to different things which helps give a great range for the shop. I then just continue ordering throughout the year, sourcing more local, smaller suppliers for those really unique items.”
Sally – “We really work together on both sides of the business. Of course Jodi takes care of a majority of the buying but I get to have input too. I do the physical baking and ordering for the cake and coffee side, however we both discuss what ideas we have for our new recipes. We make decisions together the majority of the time.”
Do you have favourite brands/products?
Jodi – “When we first opened we had about a dozen suppliers, now we have almost 50! My Favourite brand would probably be Citta, a New Zealand company. Their style reflects mine, with gorgeous natural timber products and a grey palette that makes me giddy!”
How did you find your fantastic coffee? Where does the inspiration for the recipes come from?
Sally – “Well, we were recommended to our wholesale coffee man, Adan from Total Coffee by his sister who I worked with in the tuck shop at my boys’ school. He is just amazing and it is just wonderful that Toowoomba has such a business as he is always on hand to help us and support our equipment. We had a tasting night with a few friends so that we had a few different opinons and that is how we came to have our gorgeous blend, Lupo. Our receipes come from all over from Donna Hay, which I absolutely love, taste.com, Pinterest, friends and family.”
How did you find the design process for the interior of your shop? Did you enjoy it?
Sally – “It was a bit of a challenge, however Jodi was very handy in this process as I am hopeless when it comes to visualising things. I need to see a picture. It was fun and I did enjoy it as you could use colours and styles that I would not have been game to use in my home.”
Jodi – “It wasn’t a very big space to work with, yet it had to serve several purposes. Creating a layout to visually display stock, a practical working space for our kitchen that also involves coffee making, a small store room was needed and certain elements required to comply to a commercial grade kitchen. It was good, we tried really hard to keep it as homely as possible, even with all the commercial restrictions.”
Are there any particular areas you are particularly proud of?
Sally – “I love our kitchen. I wish it was bigger but we make it work. We get so many compliments on it. The sink is my favourite. I also love our hand washing basin area as it is styled beautifully. It was an absolute nightmare regarding council regulations but I am so proud that we could make a hand washing basin look amazing! I love that little nook.”
Jodi: “I’m pretty proud of how it all came together and that it all works. It’s wonderful the suprise you hear from customers when they comment on how lovely the kitchen is, and that it’s open, so you can see it all being prepared and baked right before you. My favourite part of the shop though, is the fireplace with the textured stone wallpaper backdrop. The fireplace was built by a dear friend, which makes it extra special.”
Are there any stories from the planning/installation process?
Sally – “Lots of stories, but the are a distant memory now. I just know that having to have all the work done out of business hours due to our space being beside a Hearing Aid Specialist made this extra expensive and dragged out our opening date!”
Jodi – “Feeding our builders red velvet cupcakes, wrangling friends to unpack boxes and price products, and probably the one we won’t forget ever, is opening and forgetting to set up a cash float for the till! We realised the night before and went to the pokies to change our notes into coins!”
Have you changed much since you moved in? I have noticed a few tweaks here & there.
Jodi – “We have, yes. We opened with not everything fully completed. We had the fireplace installed over our Christmas break and then the wallpaper put up the first weekend in May. We’ve installed some filtered blinds, would you believe to keep the winter sun out! Still a few things to go. We refer to the shop as a newly renovated home, with the odd job needing to be finished off. It’s evolving!”
Are there any changes you would make now you’re using the space?
Sally – “I would put the sink at the opposite end of the kitchen and maybe make the bench where the coffee machine is a bit longer.”
Jodi – “Actually we were pretty glad of the things we hadn’t finished. It was quite helpful, as some things we thought we needed, we didn’t end up doing, and others we hadn’t thought of, like the blinds, we could put in as we went along.”
How to you feel about the B & B now that it has been open for a while? Is it what you dreamt it would be?
Jodi – “It’s better! I wake up each morning, from the best sleep, and think how lucky we are to have created a space that I not only love walking into, but that we have customers who have become friends and feel the same way. I’m excited about what we have created, and it really only sunk in when we had our first season change, with different homewares changing the look of the shop, but not the feel.”
Sally – “I love our space and have grown very attached to our customers. I think it is more than I dreamt it would be, though definitely a lot more work than I thought too!”
Does the Bungalow & Basket have any new things heading our way?
Jodi – “We will be hosting a Pop-Up shop for a dear friend who has started her own millinery business. That will take place in October, in time for the Melbourne Cup. For the Melbourne Cup we will also be holding a Ladies Late Luncheon, an hour to pop on your headware, eat the very best B & B goodies and cheer on the race. We are also working together with the gorgeous girls from Ivy & Piper to bring 3 decorating workshops. It’s going to be a busy end to 2015!”
Thanks to Jodi & Sally for taking us behind the scenes of your amazing store! For further updates from the girls at the Bungalow & Basket, follow them on Facebook or Instagram. Pop in to their shop on New Recipe Tuesdays, Salted Caramel Thursdays, or any day of the week really! The coffee is flowing from 8am most days.
Photo credits to Made For This Photography, Jodi Paynter and Morgan Smith.